A weapon of mass destruction (WMD), also colloquially known as a superweapon[a] or super weapon, is a powerful weapon capable of destruction on a much larger scale than typical weapons of war. A WMD is capable of harming or killing numerous humans or causing great damage to structures, usually in a short amount of time.
Most Ace Combat games feature at least one WMD, either as a plot device or as a direct threat to the player. They sometimes act as the final boss of the game. The player can also use some weapons that are, or can be considered to be, WMDs, usually as a secret weapon only available after completing the game.
There is no single, authoritative definition of what qualifies as a weapon of mass destruction. The most widely used definition classifies all nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons as WMDs; this definition has been used in official United States documents. The U.S. Department of Defense later expanded this definition to include radiological weapons. The combined definition of chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear is referred to as CBRN.
The term "superweapon"[a] is a derivation of the prefix super- (超 chō) and the word weapon (兵器 heiki), implying an extremely powerful weapon, but no further official definition exists. In real life, "weapon(s) of mass destruction" or "WMD" is used much more frequently than "superweapon". Ace Combat has not used the term "superweapon" since Ace Combat X: Skies of Deception in 2006, whereas "WMD" has been used as recently as 2019 in Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown. Since WMDs are inherently extremely powerful weapons, the two terms are considered to be interchangeable; Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies used both terms in the same game to refer to weapons of similar destructive capabilities.
List of WMDs
The following is a list of all Ace Combat weapons directly stated to be WMDs and/or superweapons.
The following is a list of all Ace Combat weapons directly stated to be chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear, and not already in the confirmed list.
The following is a list of Ace Combat weapons suspected to qualify as WMDs, based on the confirmed list and/or their destructive power.
- All burst missiles, including the Multi-Purpose Burst Missile, Nimbus, SDBM, and Helios
- Shock Wave Ballistic Missile and Long Range Shock Wave Missile
- Anti-asteroid laser
- Orbital Laser Defense System
- Prior to the events of Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War, the Arkbird would not qualify as a WMD since it was incapable of attacking anyone or anything on Earth. Albert Genette describes the Arkbird as "a superweapon capable of attacking from outer space" only after it received a ground-facing laser cannon. Excluding the laser, even after the Grey Men load a V1 nuclear weapon onto it, the Arkbird itself wouldn't qualify as a WMD until the Grey Men change course to crash the Arkbird into the ground to detonate the weapon.
- Mission 12: "Weapons of Mass Destruction", Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation.
- Mission 01: "Sitting Duck", Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies.
- Mission 07: "Bastion", Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War.
- Mission 11: "The Moloch Desert", Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation.
- SP Mission 01: "Unexpected Visitor", Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown.
- VR Mission 03, Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown.
- Scene 10: "Handful of Hope", Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War.
- Mission 13: "Safe Return", Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies.
- Mission 18: "Megalith", Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies.
- Mission 06A: "The Midnight Sun", Ace Combat X: Skies of Deception.
- Mission 07B: "Standoff in the Skies II", Ace Combat X: Skies of Deception.
- Clinton, William J. "Message to the Congress on the Expansion of the Executive Order on Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction". U.S. Government Publishing Office. Published on 28 July 1998. Retrieved on 7 January 2022.
- "Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms". Defense Technical Information Center. Published on 15 February 2016. Archived from the original on 7 January 2022. Retrieved on 7 January 2022.
- "Explore". Google Trends. Retrieved on 10 January 2022.
- "Google Ngram Viewer". Google Books. Retrieved on 10 January 2022.
- Mission 06: "White Bird (Part I)", Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War.
- Mission 24: "White Bird (Part II)", Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War.
- Mission 08: "Fragile Cargo", Ace Combat 3: Electrosphere (Japanese).
- Mission 07: "Fragile Cargo", Ace Combat 3: Electrosphere (export).
- Mission 07C: "Time Limit", Ace Combat X: Skies of Deception.